Energy bills can take a huge chunk out of the household budget, but here are a few tips to help bring them down.
1. Watch where the money goes
If you want to see just where your money goes, invest in an energy monitor – a nifty handheld gadget which will show you at a glance where savings can be made. Turn off all your appliances, then switch them back on one by one – you’ll soon see where you can cut down. Or try the free home energy check at EnergySavingTrust.co.uk, which it claims could save you £250 per year.
2. Read your meter
Don’t ignore those emails that tell you it’s time to read the meter. If you don’t supply regular readings your bills will be based on estimates, and you could end up shelling out for more gas or electricity than you use.
3. Go a bundle
It’s not quite two for the price of one, but many providers now offer internet, phone and TV packages at a discount. Buying your gas and electricity from the same firm is also often cheaper – but not always, so look around before you tie yourself in.
4. Claim cash incentives
Believe it or not there are people out there who want to give you money to make your home more energy-efficient. Depending on your circumstances you could be eligible for grants or discounts to lessen the cost of loft and cavity wall insulation, draught proofing and central heating – while the Renewable Heat Incentive offers cash to help with the cost of renewable technologies like heat pumps, biomass boilers and solar water heating.
5. Generate your own energy
Fed up with price hikes from the ‘Big Six’ energy firms? Produce your own with renewable technologies and you’ll not only save on bills but could earn hard cash for selling any extra back to the national grid.
6. Change how you pay
Quarterly bills can be a shock to the system, but change to direct debit and you’ll know exactly what to pay when. Plus, lower admin costs make it cheaper to go paperless, so switch to an online plan and pocket the difference.
7. Waste less
Day to day the best way to take the edge off household bills is simply to waste less energy. There are plenty of ways to save, from using energy-efficient products to changing your habits so you only use what you need.
8. Choose the right tariff
Dual fuel, prepay, fixed or green? There’s a ridiculous array of tariffs out there making it hard to compare like for like, but as a rule the cheapest tend to be dual fuel online deals. Don’t be fooled by advertising – think carefully about your needs and always read the small print before you sign on the dotted line.
9. Look into meters
Having a meter can sometimes help us budget and cut costs on our utilities, particularly water meters. As a rule of thumb, a house that has fewer occupants than bedrooms will save money with a water meter.
10. Switch supplier
Six out of ten consumers have never changed supplier, but make the switch and you could save hundreds on your gas and electricity bills each year. Check out a comparison site, then call your current provider to see if they can match the best deals – but look out for hidden costs and be wary of long-term contracts which come with strict financial penalties if you want out later.
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